Fifteen metric tons of Atlantic bluefin tuna quota was transferred from the Reserve Category to the Harpoon Category, bringing the total tonnage for the category to 91 metric tons and leaving 98 metric tons in Reserve to be used as the agency thinks best over the balance of 2019.
This transfer will be in effect through November 15, 2019 or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first, and only applies to those commercial vessels with an Atlantic tunas Harpoon category permit.
This is at a time when some federally permitted Atlantic tunas dealers are not accepting or buying bluefin tuna. A cautionary message was sent by the agency to Harpoon, General Category and HMS Charter/Headboat Permit holders to contact their local buyers before departing on a trip to determine whether they are buying bluefin tuna. If bluefin cannot be sold, vessels must contact law enforcement for tagging to identify the reported landed catch, but no sale.